07/01/2004 11:00PM

Expected fast pace gives edge to Sea Dub


Sea Dub would benefit from some fireworks Sunday in the $75,000 Independence Handicap at Louisiana Downs, but not the kind that light up the sky. Joe Petalino, who trains Sea Dub, says he hopes there will be quick fractions in the 1 1/16-mile turf race, in which Sea Dub will attempt to turn the tables on Waupaca.

The two met last out in the $50,000 Barksdale Handicap, with Waupaca leading throughout for a two-length win and Sea Dub finishing third. Sea Dub raced closer to the pace than usual in that race, but could get a different trip in the Independence.

"It looks like there might be a little more pace than last time, and that should help him," said Petalino. "His last couple of starts, there wasn't any pace."

Before the Barksdale, Sea Dub closed into slow fractions to win an optional claimer on yielding turf May 13. That race came over 1 1/16 miles, the distance of the Independence and a sixteenth longer than the Barksdale.

"The extra ground will be a little better for him," said Petalino.

E.J. Perrodin, who is considered one of the top turf riders in the region, has the mount on Sea Dub, a gelding by Sea Hero who races for Doyle Williams.

Waupaca will be tough. He drew the rail and is looking to stay undefeated in his fifth start over the Louisiana Downs turf. Waupaca ran one of the best races of his career at Louisiana Downs when he won last year's $50,000 Donnie Wilhite Memorial on the Super Derby undercard Sept. 20.

Corey Lanerie will ride Waupaca for Wayne Sanders and trainer Donnie Von Hemel.

Crowned King, whose biggest career win came on turf in the $200,000 USA Stakes at Lone Star Park, moved back to the grass for the first time in five starts last out and finished fourth in the Barksdale. He will be making his third start back from a layoff Sunday. Chandra Rennie has the mount for trainer Billy McKeever Jr.

Kiss a Native, a millionaire, moves back to turf for the first time September 2003. He has won one of three starts on the grass and comes into the Independence on the heels of a third-place finish in an allowance at Evangeline Downs.

Kiss a Native won the $50,000 John Henry Handicap in May at Evangeline Downs. Josh Romero will ride for owner-trainer Carrol Castille.

The field is completed by King Zonic, a recent allowance winner at Louisiana Downs for trainer Kenny Smith; Chauffe Au Rouge, a multiple stakes winner on turf for leading trainer Cole Norman; Virginia Pride; and Excessive Behavior.